Mr. Koerner to Mr. Seward.

No. 85.]

Sir: * * * * * * * * *

The new ministry has lately carried in the Senate a law by which, in principle, the hereditary right of grandees of Spain to have, under certain conditions, a seat in the Senate, has been abolished. There is, however, a reservation in the law which secures the right to persons who have it now, but have not actually taken their seats in the Senate, either by reason of their minority or some other cause. As the majority in the Senate was very large, there seems to be no doubt of the House of Deputies adopting the measure also. I look upon the changes as of no consequence. There were but few grandees who could enter by mere inheritance, as to do so required also a yearly fixed income of $10,000, which few had; besides, it is doubtful whether the Senate would not have gained by having at least some members in it who did not owe their office to the nomination of the government. Yet even the liberals in Spain, a good deal like their neighbors in France, seem to care much more about equality than about liberty, not reflecting that in a pure despotism there is really the greatest equality, all being equally slaves. A Senate composed exclusively of a privileged class would secure the rights of the people a great deal better than one which is entirely filled up by the nomination of the Crown.

It is stated here in various journals, which are likely to receive information from ministerial circles, that Mr. Preston has gone to Mexico to establish commercial relations with the new empire, and to procure its recognition of the Confederate States. It is also said in some of the papers that Spain has entered into a treaty with the new emperor, reserving the throne of Mexico, in case of failure of issue, to a Spanish prince. This would be an important fact if true, as it would secure the moral co-operation of Spain in the establishment of the new empire, and would have a tendency to place Spain in a somewhat antagonistic position to the United States. That Spain, in the end, would be cheated of her expectations I have no doubt; but still it is not altogether improbable that some inducements have been held out to her, which may have some present effect.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.